While you have not heard of North Dakota safety Cole Reyes yet, his name will find its way onto a TV screen in late April. Reyes, the former standout UND Fighting Hawk brings a tenacity and iron will to succeed. More importantly, his dedication and unrelenting desire to make an NFL impact should raise the eyebrows of RaiderNation. During this interview, Reyes highlights his potential path to Oakland.
What do you bring to the field pre-snap? What are the keys?
Pre-snap is where I feel my greatest strength as a football player is. I feel like the amount of film study I do and tendencies I pick up, it gives me a great pre-snap advantage. On the field, I can read what the offense is trying to do. Therefore, I feel very confident. I will key on offensive sets. Plus, the splits of the wide receivers and running backs tell a lot pre-snap.
Oakland is a team in need of versatile DB, how do your skills achieve that?
I feel like I have the strength, speed, and instincts to play in the box as a drop down safety. However, also the speed and range to play deep in the middle third and read the QB.
The AFC West is loaded with pass happy offenses, what defenses are your most comfortable in playing?
I have played in most defenses through my football career, but in college, we played in a 3-4 base defense. We did a lot of different coverages and blitzes from the secondary, so I feel like my style of play can work in any type of defense.
The Chargers and Chiefs use screens to stem the pass rush and force DB to make tackles. When making a stop, where is your focus?
When I see open space on a one in one tackle, I first focus on taking the correct angle to give the runner a one-way go. I then take out as much space before shimming down and hen focus on his hips. His hips are going to tell you where he is going, so I have always trusted that.
Under Jon Gruden, the Raiders look to get younger and hungrier defensively. What three adjustments will you make if drafted/signed by Oakland?
Three adjustments I would make if drafted by the Raiders:
First, adapting to a new defensive scheme and make sure I get it down. Plus, I would hold myself accountable no matter what my role is in the secondary. Most importantly, I would make sure I know multiple positions. Also, making special teams a priority for me.
In essence, Cole Reyes’ ascension up draft boards is nothing short of miraculous. Injuries plagued his college career. During his finals season, an upper arm injury cost him the balance of his senior campaign. However, the Raiders could find themselves with a safety that saw the worst of life but battled through.